I've been using plastics for panfishing thru the ice for the past several years and they work great. Actually better than live bait in most circumstances. There are alot of different brands and designs, here are a couple of links to give you an idea as to what they look like -
Ice Fishing Finesse Plastics
IceFishingTime.com - Home of 'The Whip'! The Original Soft Plastic Ice Fishing Tail
Probably about thirty years ago I used something similar on a fly rod for blue gills. It was a soft rubber grub on a unweighted hook. The secret was to cast it out, and let it slowly sink. You'd watch your leader and it would twitch when the fish took the grub. It was extremely effective. It worked great in still water down to about 6 or 7 feet, much deeper and it took too long for the grub to sink if the fish were located on the bottom.